‘Democracies Are Not Defined By Our Bad Days’: Adam Kinzinger Breaks Down During Jan. 6 Hearing

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Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Republican Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger broke down during Tuesday’s opening hearing of the Jan. 6 Commission.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tapped Kinzinger to serve on the commission Sunday after removing Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana, and he got choked up as he explained the reasons he chose to accept. (RELATED: Pelosi Adds Adam Kinzinger To Jan. 6 Commission, Doubles Down On Ousting Jordan, Banks)


“I never expected today to be quite as emotional for me as it has been,” Kinzinger began, pausing occasionally as he appeared to tear up. “I have talked to a number of you and gotten to know you.”

“I think it’s important to tell you right now, though, you guys may individually feel a little broken because I’ll talk about the effects you have to deal with and you talked about the impact of that day,” Kinzinger continued. “You guys won. You guys held. Democracies are not defined by our bad days. We’re defined by how we come back from bad days, how we take accountability for that.”

Kinzinger went on to say that the goal of the committee was not to be partisan but to determine what had happened, so that it could never happen again.

“It is toxic and a disservice to the officers and their families, to the staff and employees of the Capitol complex and to the American people who deserve the truth and to those generations before us who went to war to defend self-governance,” Kinzinger said of those who argued that the committee was just another political fight.

Kinzinger concluded by noting that some critics complained about the Capitol riot getting an investigation despite the fact that there was no bipartisan commission looking at the rioting that stretched across the country throughout the summer of 2020.

“I was called on to serve during the summer riots as an Air National Guardsman. I condemn those riots and the destruction of property that resulted,” Kinzinger continued. “But not once did I ever feel that the future of self-governance was threatened like I did on January 6th. There is a difference between breaking the law and rejecting the rule of law. Between a crime — even grave crimes — and a coup.”